June 28, 2010

I cried.

I cried like a god damn little baby. Like a lost child without it's mother. Yes, I was shit faced hammered on the curb outside a bar, but I let it flow. Every single tear of anguished, unabashed agony. I fuzzily remember people in cars wondering what was going on, why some kid with an American flag draped over his shoulders, was sitting alone on a curb. I think I then got carried off by my girlfriend.

The USA are done. Out. World Cup dreams finished and gone. Four years of my life are now a part of history, and can now stay that way for good. In a way, it's somewhat of a relief, but it's nevertheless disappointing. Of all teams we had to bow out to, I did not want it to be Ghana. I wanted the heroics. The epic USA - Brazil semifinal battle, the USA - England rematch, the Uruguay - USA dogfight. But no, we went tamely to Ghana. To a team that made us feel cheap, used, and dumb. They basically said "hey, you guys are idiots. instead of wasting everyone's hearts for 120 minutes, all you guys needed to do was just finish one shot. lolz". Dreamland has shattered, and now I'm forced to come back to reality.

But what hurt so much for me was that this World Cup brought back the feeling of being a fan. Of being a 100% pure and innocent, all or nothing, show up or go home fan. It helped that I was blogging for the first time over at the USA blog, that it sort of gave me an extra incentive to want every push, to dream of tactical substitutions for sleepless nights, and to hope for the best. But it was pure. And I knew what to expect. Which is why it hurts.

And in the dying minutes of the game, no matter how many times I had ordered that one extra beer, no matter the fact that I had bruised myself pounding my sides into the table, I had recognized what was happening.With minutes still to play, I saw it, in the defeated shapes of shoulders and slow movement on the screens. We were done. And I was watching the slow torturous death of it. And just as when someone you know moves on or the certain time has come, you take some time to remember their values, the best of times you had, the shared closeness. Memories of qualification, of Charlie Davies, of fans more emotional than me, of my own  personal drama that intertwined with the team's path to the tournament. It all came rushing at once, and hit me like Heskey to my chest. It hurt.

What's the rule? Denial, anger, bargaining, and depression? And last comes acceptance?  Saturday mid-day, I had moved swiftly through each stage and on to the next. I don't know if it's just my type, or my family history, but I seemed to linger at depression. Because accepting that there was nothing that the team could have done, that starting Findley and Clark would've yielded the same results as starting Gaetjens and Bahr, was not something I could do easily. Blaming Bob Bradley wasn't going to give us three points. It wouldn't remove the sting of the matter of the fact. Trust me. I wanted dearly to be at acceptance, and to be done with the whole mess and to never have to think about it again. But I was caught, somewhere between the ecstasy of seeing a ghost and the alcohol driven sickness of defeat.

Everyone, even non-soccer fans and non-Americans, knew what was on the line. Something much bigger than one person's passion for soccer was visible for an entire world to see. To watch other public luminaries join forces and support the cause was like having physical proof that what you want in the world matters. That the progression of simple game of kickball can be so mindbogglingly epic. For me, it meant a niche part of my life was finally so close the precipice of vindication. I could see the shining sun on the other side, where literally the path was brighter and happier. Instead of being turned around, as would've been the case had this World Cup been an utter disaster, we are all of us caught, in limbo, in a perfect act of balance on the peak, with one way back from where we came from, and the other way towards a brighter future for American sport. Seriously, how much worse can it be. For all of us to know, that we neither failed nor succeeded outright, but instead we have to wait further to decide our path. Honestly, I have neither the heart nor the patience to know the answer. Because so much is on the line, and I proudly see that it's not just in personal terms for me.

The joke for Americans is that in poor countries around the world, children wake up with no food or shelter, little clothing or little schooling, and wander around aimlessly until they find a television in a hut somehow broadcasting a soccer match. However, the child won't be alone, as a small group of hopeless men and women huddle around the TV to warm their bones and souls. Where a win can give a child an incentive to smile, or a draw with political neighbors can create a ceasefire. Where the hopes of a poor nation literally ride the shoulders of 11 men. Yesterday, I was that small child who was searching for hope. In a world where wars exist and oil is spilled uncontrollably, I have yet to learn that life goes on and time does not stop. So living for 90 minutes for something else is the only logical respite I can find. It's unfair that when those 90 minutes are over, I'm forced to suddenly grow twice my age.

I realize I'm probably doing this all wrong. That acceptance doesn't involve writing off the entire tournament. You're supposed to grow. To be able to look back at the history and improve yourself. But this is hollow. And so underwhelming. I wanted something finite, something I could grasp, something that the world could understand. But the sort of questions I'm left with are ones I can't answer. So with helplessness, I say oh well. It's just a game.

June 25, 2010

The Jay Demerit Story

I love everything about this man's story. So unique, but so refreshing.

June 22, 2010

I love you!

Wow. So I randomly decided to come back and check in on this blog, just to see if anything new had happened. And low and behold, I was pleasantly surprised to see that people are actually making visits here. Which leaves me feeling horrible, since I've moved onto other outlets with actual audiences (lol, jibe jibe). And even though the idea of managing to some extent three separate soccer blogs is utterly insane, I like the freedom I have on this blog to basically cock about and write whatever I feel like.

So, it definitely won't be near 20 posts a month, but I'll try and make this a regular back scratching post where I can air some dirty... uh, thoughts. Relating to footie. Yeah.

How to Mute Vuvuzelas

The only solution known to man that doesn't involve Sepp Blatter or moving the World Cup to a different continent.